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That was, by far, the best funeral I've ever been to.

First, his daughter played Adagio from Moonlight Sonata which I remember as being one of his favorite pieces. Then there was some words from the chaplain who saw Gerry at the hospice. She mentioned God but also was careful to acknowledge other interpretations. Mostly she spoke of Gerry and her impressions of him. Then my father read a poem that Gerry had wrote. It was about perspective, titled "Who knows?". Then a friend of Gerry's read from the bible, I don't really remember the passage but it was one of those parable, life-lesson ones, not one that preached. Then Gerry's third son played guitar and lead us all in singing "I'll Fly Away" - we didn't get choked up until the last verse. Then they passed the microphone around the room and anyone who wanted could speak about Gerry or tell a story about him. Everyone mentioned how important his family was to him, how much he loved people really. My father talked about how brave he was; never afraid to speak to anyone, never afraid to jump right in the middle of anything and set things right. Other people told about how wonderful he was with his kids, his family, his friends, strangers, how much he loved helping people, how much he loved politics because he wanted the WORLD to be right.
Then they had a montage of pictures on an overhead screen while the background was Gerry singing some old '40s bar tunes. The was oddly spooky; I was waiting for him to start talking at any moment. But it was comforting too; he hear his voice after so many weeks of his silence.
Then the chaplain spoke again, briefly and they closed with a hymn.

Outside the room were two huge displays of Gerry in pictures. One was him with his kids and grandkids throughout their lives. The other was Gerry himself, throughout the phases of his life. It was awesome. They gave everyone "Gerry Dokka for president" buttons to everyone.

The reception at my parents house was nice, but too much for me; I got a migraine and had to hide a few times. We did get to watch Gerry's panel interview for his presidential race in New Hampshire.

Pretty Good obit (you know he beat Al Sharpton? heh heh)
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died today at 2pm

I wasn't there because no one had told me where he had been moved to.

Funeral on Friday.
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Went to visit my family friend today. Bad time for such things... been utterly foiled in every endeavor to the point of my eldest son remarking that perhaps I had offended certain deities recently and that by Saturday I was most definitely slated to win a lottery or something like it. I cannot even begin to recount the comedy of errors that has been my week. Although some people might be able to make such stories amusing or downright hysterical, my storytelling abilities leave my audience with a sense of guilt and secret revelry that they are not ME. Suffice it to say, the admonition that I "have problems with authority" is in no way lessened. I admit such flaw within myself and usually embrace such with wit and glee. This past week, of course, being an exception and I submit that perhaps some of my adventures were made much more severe by my own defensive nature. However, much of my cynicism is just and a good dollop of it is mere subjective rationale.
Therein, lies the answer to why I cringed just walking through the doors of my eldest son's high school-to-be when we attempted to register him. Bracing myself against the onslaught of adolescent cruelty and incendiary taunts was simply long habit and a good one too so far as I remember. Luckily, my memories of past transgressions were not reenacted on that day; instead I dealt with a harder foe: bureaucracy (tangent: this being the only word in my writings that I still have to consult dictionary dot com for the proper spelling)

In any case, between the rain, trying to register kids for three different schools, trying to find a mysterious clinic that apparently was built before amenities like road signs, landscaping, and multi=floored buildings AS WELL AS gearing up for a trip to six flags and all the while knowing that my beloved would be leaving on his monthly trip - it was a stressful hectic week filled with bloopers one usually cries at.
I managed (I'm still not sure how) to get everything done without crying, screaming (well okay I screamed once in the car) or declaring myself ex-patriot in extremis and high-tailing it to some country where they don't require four forms filled out in triplicate in order to prove you aren't trying to steal their fourth-rate education benefits for your hopeless brats while ducking out on your parental responsibility for innoculating said rug-rats. Thank the gods that American Big cahunas-that-sit-behind-the-desks-of-IMPORTANCE are onto me and my nefarious plans to screw the system and do my best to fulfill the prophecies of evil inherent in trying to put my kids in school! boy they sure got MY number!

Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief; I passed their tests, got my kids forms showing they aren't bringing dreaded diseases to the mass public, dotted my "i"s, crossed my legs and filled out all the forms in triplicate while lying through my teeth - no wait, that's not what I meant...

Everything is done. Properly (well almost, I still have to badger my landlord into giving me a "current" lease to show the school I'm not sneaking my kids in without proper authorization) and finally. It's all good.
By gahd it better be... tomorrow they all get on the bus and I don't wanna hear anymore about it. I really don't.

My man and my eldest son will NOT being going to PAX after all. If I wasn't so bummed out and tired, I'd cry. Too long to go into here but believe me, I wanted them to go for a lot of reasons, most of which had to do with worrying about my eldest son lately. I promise I will write about that whole subject soon. IN any case, the plane tickets for PAX would be near to $1k which, of course, we have, it would just be foolish to spend right now. Because we'd be broke... again... like we are every paycheck... and we wanna stop doing that... so PAX, the one thing I actually wanted to spend bucks on, is out... yeah. Anyone have any good ideas to replace the belated PAX venture, please let me know. ANyone interested in possibly taking our PAX badges off our hands, likewise. $40 for the two. Or free... whatever. I'm calling the hotel tomorrow to cancel the reservation (the hotel fees were already slated to be paid so that's not in the whole "we can't afford this" equation)so if you were thinking of going to PAX, there'll be a room available at the Doubletree for Friday and Saturday. Ah well...

I'm fairly zen about everything now.

Because, as I said at the beginning, I went to see the family friend today.



The one who basically raised me more than my own father. The one whose sons I grew up next to. The one who has so many awesome stories that his daughter couldn't afford to list his "accomplishments" in the obituary she's planning.

I'd say he weighs about 20 pounds now. The cancer has moved up into his throat and lungs I believe (or maybe it's just symptoms of pancreatic cancer?) and it hurts for him to swallow. Hence, his malnourishment. He is doped up enough to where he phases in and out of conciousness... beginning sentances that he only finishes in his head. But several times he "woke up" and talked with my brother and I, asked for things, ate some strawberries, sipped water, moved his blanket on then off his legs...
There wasn't much to do.
I held his hand most of the time while he drifted off. I noticed he was tryign to scratch his face (morphine makes you itch) so I put lotion on him. I realized (after an embarrassingly long time) that he couldn't see properly and cleaned his glasses for him so he could put them on. I told him things about my life... little things. I talked about his kids and grandkids. I stroked his head and told him to go to sleep; we'd still be there. I admonished him to eat more and sleep before trying to get out of bed (which he really wanted to do) I reminded him of a few things pleasant. I smiled at him. I asked him questions. I leaned in when he whispered his answers. I watched him go 15-20 seconds at a time without breathing and wondered if he was going to die right then. I heard him call my brother by my father's name. I saw in his eyes as he wondered who I was for a moment and knew that he was thinking of my birth-mother. I watched him jerk himself awake and told him it was okay to drift off, we didn't mind. I looked outside with him at the trees swinging in the wind. I laughed at the things his grandson said in the next room.

I stood there and did nothing important.

I tell you what I did because I want to remember it. I want to recall all those stupid last moments. I want to remember that I was there... if only for a little while. Only two hours but it was something for me. His kids were able to take a break, He was able to interact with someone different. He wasn't alone... not that he would EVER be haha... he's too popular for that... five kids all with kids of their own now. But really... I wasn't scared. Funny how on the ride over to his place I was afraid I'd be afraid. I wasn't afraid at all. I was just ...something. I didn't want to go, but I knew I wasn't doing anything by staying. He needed to sleep. To stop trying to stay with us. He needed to let go for a little while because trying to interact with us was so tiring for him.

Just like a mom, I guess; I wanted him to have what he wanted but after a while I knew it was better to keep him from it. He is fighting so hard... his daughter thinks he is scared but I don't think he is... I think he just wants more. More time, more life, more adventures. I can't imagine him every being "done" So I watched him, more than anything, keep trying to hold off death a little longer. I watched him try to make some kind of adventure out of it. To the last.
Stubborn man, Gerry Dokka.

But I'm not going to cry about this. He's not dead. I want to think about our time together, now and in the past and I want to embrace all of that into one big gentle smile that he can feel in my hand while he lies in that bed so tired and weak and quiet. I would have never in my life imagine him being quiet... never, but if he is stricken silent now, it's only because he has no strength in his voicebox. It doesn't mean there's nothing being said. He's speaking by still recognizing me, smiling at me and squeezing my hand. His voice is still there inside my head when I look at him, no matter how much his body has changed.

I want to keep his voice talking in my head and it won't if I start grieving before he goes. He's still here, really he is, and I can look at him and hear his stories still. I'm holding onto that until the last. So I don't want comfort, not yet, and I don't want to grieve, not yet. I'm not being stoic and I'm not being grim, I'm holding his hand until he really really goes away. And then, I'm betting his voice and his stories will still be there.
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My man is gone. So I'm lonely, but restive.
The room upstairs is finally empty so I can attempt to get the bunkbeds moved up there. Any strapping person willing to risk back injury in exchange for some tasty victuals is welcome to come over and help.

I am responsible for moving kids' stuff upstairs before Saturday Go me.
I am responsible for getting a truck for Saturday Yeah, at the first of the month. WTF do landlords all try to make you move on the same fucking day of the month thereby making securing a vehicle nigh impossible?
I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee. Sleeping hasn't been any easier, but at least now I nap in the daytime.
I am supposed to get a job but I have to make minimum $10/hr. Ooookay. Yeah, I'm really looking forward to all the rejections I'll be getting soon.
The boys have gone but they'll be back for July 4th
I am so sleepy I am surprised any of this makes any sense 2 hours of sleep but I finally got my CoH char to the middle of the Cavern of Transcendance trials. Go me.
I am really getting fed up with having to pick up everyone's dishes and put them back in the sink
I figured out that we can save enough money to possibly, maybe, kinda have half the money needed for the operation Now watch, the car will die or something tragic like that.
My family friend seems to be over his pneumonia so maybe now he'll be able to get out of the hospital and die in his daughter's house.
I was watching his daughter's kids some last week they were pretty nice kids actually. Except for the picky-eating thing. Which I'll never understand.
I made salmon burgers last night They were so good I realized we need to have them again soon. HOpefully as part of the July 4th cookout.
Anyone who has nowhere better to go, is cordially invited to join us in our cookout

Love to all.
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I talked to my dad this evening.

He told me that the oldest family friend had surgery yesterday. While they were in there, they discovered pancreatic cancer so far gone they're predicting he'll live another 2 weeks to a month.

This is the man who took care of me after my mother left and my father went travelling. I grew up with him and his sons. He has more stories of me in the crib than my parents do. I worked for him once and that didn't go so well but we all agreed that it was just better not to work together. He's one of those guys... you know... who everyone says "oh he's a real character!" and mean it as a warning but also affectionately. He almost was a senator. He once owned five or six houses in central Atlanta bought for next to nothing and he lost all of them because he thought it'd be cool to keep the rent money and not pay the mortgages. Of course those houses are worth about ten times what he paid back then, but that was the kind of loveable moron he was. My father once said "he's cheated me so many times I get nervous when he calls me up and says he's coming over but you know.... it's ____, and that's how he is... you just have to know better. Of course I know better but.... ah well"

That was the kind of guy he was. More than anything, I think I'd call him a storyteller. The kind of guy who could tell about the time YOU screwed up in front of everyone and by the end of the story you'd be laughing your ass off and wondering why you can't tell it as good. He was a pot-smoker too. I mention this because frankly he's the only person I've ever met in my life who I could easily say was completely addicted to pot. He smoked pot like other people smoke cigarettes. I can't even imagine him without his perennial wooden bowl, rolling another joint. He was a huge baseball fan... taught me how to play when I was little. He and his sons could rattle off baseball statistics like a damned sports announcer. Bored me to tears to hear about it but the love of the game was infectious. I played on his little league team a few times... hid my hair and we all laughed about it too. He was such a weird guy in a way... he had a VW bus - remember those? He modded it though... lopped off the top of it and built a sleeping shelf out of wood with a big plastic bubble like a cherry on a moving sundae. The whole bus was painted white and silver and you always knew when he was around because that bus was unmistakable - only one in the whole city, probably whole world, like that. Even when the bus stopped running, he kept it outside his house and when he and his latest wife (I think he went through about six of them) were fighting he'd sleep in it. Such a child of the sixties but always yearning for "success" somehow, just never quite getting it because he couldn't grasp how to be hardnosed with himself. In some circles he'd be called a "scam artist" but he wasn't really... he was absolutely adorable. His stories, his exploits, his adventures.... all uniquely his and no one could possibly tell his stories like he could.

Our friend was always happy, fascinated and full of excitement no matter what his next caper was going to be. Everything seemed to thrill him. on the down side, my father once said "___ just hasn't ever really accepted that sometimes to get what you want you have to let go of other things. He thinks it should all be there for the taking" and I think that's really the crux of the man. In many ways that would be a bad thing but in many ways it was what was so attractive about the man... the notion that "you should be able to have everthing that is wonderful" it is a lovely thought. Reality is that often as not it is not possible to have everything you think is wonderful and sometimes what you think is wonderful is actually not good for you. But, no, he never did accept that idea. Perhaps that was both his curse as well as his blessing.

I think what hurts me the most about his situation is that this is the man who never disappointed me: I always knew what was up with him and I always knew he loved me. I always felt like I was more of a daughter to him than I was to my own father. Many adults have disappointed me in my lifetime but with this guy... even when he was being a total shithead, or if I was being a total shithead, it was no surprise and it was no big punishment. He got over everything and he always forgave. Of course, no matter how much he screwed over my father, we always forgave him too.

And he loved his kids -including me. He was a loveable moron and he was not always a good provider but everyone knew how much he loved his kids.

How could you not love a man like that?

I'm going to visit him, maybe Saturday, maybe before. We'll see.

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